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In rare move, Fort Hood shooter cross-examines witness

 

Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, on trial for a 2009 attack that left 13 dead and 300 wounded, Monday tried a self-defense tactic he rarely has used before: questioning a witness.

Hasan, who is representing himself at the military tribunal, has questioned only three of more than 80 witnesses called thus far.

On Monday he cross-examined Staff Sgt. Juan Alvarado, who said he saw  a gunfight between Hasan and Kimberly Munley, a Fort Hood police officer who responded to the shootings at the Texas military base.

 

Alvarado said Hasan tried to shoot Munley after she'd been shot and disarmed.

 

“Are you saying after it was clear that she was disarmed that I continued to fire at her?” Hasan asked.

“Yes,” Alvarado replied.

“No questions. No further questions,” Hasan said.

Earlier Monday, the judge overseeing the trial blocked prosecutors from using several witnesses and most evidence they'd sought to explain the motive behind the  attack.

Prosecutors had asked the military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, to approve evidence and several witnesses to explain the mindset of Hasan.

Such evidence included references to Hasan Akbar, a Muslim soldier sentenced to death for attacking fellow soldiers in Kuwait during the 2003 Iraq invasion. Prosecutors wanted to suggest a copycat motive.

But Osborn barred prosecutors from referencing Akbar, saying Akbar wasn't on trial and introduction of such material would "only open the door to a mini trial." She also said it would result in a "confusion of issues, unfair prejudice, waste of time and undo delay."

Osborn also told prosecutors that they couldn't cite Hasan's interest years ago in conscientious objector status and his past academic presentations. Osborn said such evidence was too old and irrelevant.

She also barred Hasan's e-mail conversations with Anwar Al-Awlaki, a now-deceased radical Muslim cleric, that he made before the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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